Missing flight: China sends special envoy to Malaysia

Beijing, March 26: China has appointed a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to press for details about the fate of the missing Malaysian airliner, as family members of the passengers accuse the Malaysian government of lying about the flight’s final hours, media reports said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui would act as the special envoy and head for Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible to “learn about the situation” and “ask the Malaysian side to properly handle related issues”, South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

The crisis over Malaysia Airlines flight 370 topped the agenda of a central government meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang Tuesday in Beijing.

Two Chinese expert teams are already in Kuala Lumpur.

The General Office of the State Council has promised to continue to provide passengers’ family members with medical treatment, psychological counseling and legal assistance, according to China Daily.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that based on analysis of satellite data the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean and there were no survivors.

However another deputy foreign minister, Xie Hangsheng, told Malaysia’s ambassador to Beijing, Iskandar Sarudin, that China wanted the precise data that prompted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to announce that the flight had “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean.

“We demand the Malaysian side make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment,” Xie said.

After 18 days of anguish, hundreds of Chinese, including relatives of those on board, marched to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing Tuesday. They carried placards and chanted “liar”, and “You owe us an explanation”. Tempers flared as protesters pelted the embassy lawn with plastic bottles and scuffled with police, who took no steps to end the demonstration.

Malaysia Airlines chairman Mohammed Nor Mohammed, stuck to his guns, telling a press conference that although no wreckage had been found, there was no doubt the flight was lost.

The ill-fated flight MH370 disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, including 154 Chinese nationals.

IANS